2012 Online New England Film Festival
Twelve women explore how their bodies have been transformed by giving birth. We see body images and hear their voices. They talk to us from their bodies. We hear and see their ambivalence, humor and love. The film began when I learned that one of the fastest growing plastic surgeries was the post-birth tummy tuck. I thought about what it meant that we want to erase the signs that we have delivered children. I was driven to create a film that reframes and destabilizes our reactions to a woman’s body after she has given birth. The film builds on the tradition of body artists like Carolee Schneeman and Ana Mendieta, who used the transgressive presentation of violence and eroticism to shock and challenge. In “BirthMarkings” we chose to explore what one of the women in the film called the “public reaction of disgust and horror” to images of her post birth belly. In a nip-tuck driven culture that is inured to violence and erotica; a culture in which babies are often seen as the latest accessory, what is transgressive is the image of a woman’s abdomen that is not taut, and unmarked by birth. “Birthmarkings” challenges the static, commodified images that are everywhere in our public culture and define what is beautiful and visually acceptable. We refocus on the beauty, dynamism and lived experiences of the marks of birth. We become engaged in the tension between the dynamic and the static and the natural world and the commodity.
Stranded is a story about a young man who finds himself lost in New York City after a heavy night of drinking. On his journey home he reflects upon his life. The story is told through a series of voice-mails from his friends and family that he is unable to receive because his cell phone is broken. The messages from his phone help generate context for the action on screen much like title cards in a silent film.
When Walter, animal-enthusiast, comes home to find his dog missing, he and his dim-witted friends take the case into their own irresponsible hands. Armed with unintelligible determination and enthusiasm, these friends steadily ruin every clue they come across on their journey to find Walter’s dog.
Sweet Heart won the 48 Hour Film Slam of the 2012 Green Mountain Film Festival. The film is a “Mockumentary” about maplesugaring and features the legendary maple sugar maker Bob Miller, who shares his insights after sixty years of sugaring with the audience.
In Cleaning House, high-powered, compulsive Helen and her mixed-media visual artist daughter, Julia are coming together for the first time in years after Helen’s mother passes away. Obeying her grandmother’s dying wishes for her to look after Helen, Julia comes home bearing photos from Helen’s past, prompting a compelling confrontation.
A short film following a day in the life of Omar Ndiaye, a Senegalese taxi cab driver in New York City, who learns that any day could be his last.
Ten-year-old Kate has confusing parents; her self-absorbed father is attractive and indifferent and her anxious mother is loving and controlling. One day after school, Kate is asked by a strange man to take a ride with him. Encouraged by the unknown man’s kind words and easy manner as well as the excitement of doing something secret from her parents, Kate decides to make her first break from mom and dad’s guidance and take a different route home.
Arnold is retired and nearly broke. In order to help pay for his sick wife’s health care costs he smuggles prescriptions across the Mexico border with his best friend Rocky. But things go from bad to worse one night when the shipment is not what they expected.
Dirty Night Clowns is a wonderful tale of curiosity, danger and pursuit. Although its never known what the path ahead has in store, Chris takes a journey driven by his nervous curiosity to find the nefarious character who roamed about his house while he slept. What seems scary and evil from a distance might end up as something unexpected as a cast of characters lures Chris in for a special ending.
Quaker tradition has it that meetings are held together on Sundays, collectively asking for the Holy Spirit to enter the sanctuary created by communal silence. The South Starksboro Meeting House is the oldest continually used Quaker church in Vermont: Quakers have worshipped here each Sunday in silence for 186 years. So in the wintertime when the fire is stoked in the center of the candle-lit and un-heated church, the ministry that they take is said to be “the ministry of the stove.”